sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network — to bring attention to the pervasive problem of anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender bullying and harassment in schools.
The students wearing those shirts, and others wearing shirts with the slogan, "It's great to be straight", were suspended for the day. Some of the t-shirts were passed around from student to student. Everyone wearing one was asked to leave.
The article contains some primo examples of squishy, touchy-feely administrative-ese:
- Cosimo Tangorra, superintendent of Trumansburg schools, said he supported the decision of high school officials to send the students home. “It seems to me kids are being discriminating,” Tangorra said. “It makes people uncomfortable. It's like if someone was wearing a white supremacy T-shirt.”
- “Living in a free society, people can't feel threatened to live any way they want to be,” Tangorra said. “School districts need to be one of the safest, if not the safest, place for students to expand their thinking.”
- “They said if I wanted to have a straight day, we'd have to get a group together and get an adviser in advance,” [one of the suspended students] said. “They told me about Matthew Shepard [the Colorado college student who was killed in 1998 after he was tied to a fence, beaten and pistol whipped], and that's why there's a Day of Silence.”
- “Kids are permitted to wear notes of expression or political expression if they don't disrupt the school day,” [Russell I. Doig Middle School Dean of students Robert] Fitzsimmons said. “In a way, I wish we would spend more time dialoguing about this, but it's so touchy. We try to avoid controversy.”